Let’s Play “Smash or Trash,” Part Two

Continued from Part One

  1. My first impression: humorless concept-world-prog. But humor is generally in short supply in progressive rock circles, and I like prog. So I shouldn’t hold that against ’em. All manner of styles are on display here. I was worried there’d be vocals, with the inevitable pompous lyrics. But this seems to be a wholly instrumental set. Oh, heavens: it’s a 2CD set! Still, it’s pretty interesting stuff, so it goes in the yes pile. Wow…more discs are making it through my filter than is typical of this exercise.
  2. This is the kind of music that some call “soulful.” I call it dull, and the vocalist has a bit of that yodelly inflection that might endear her to the Americana crowd. And with notable exceptions, southern accents don’t resonate with me. Perfectly serviceable, but…pass.
  3. I think they call this genre “progressive bluegrass.” They remind me a bit of Mason Williams, which is good. Rootsy-flavored music with jazz-level instrumental chops. I don’t dislike this – not at all – but neither am I the right person to review this disc. Pass.
  4. Nice enough, but if I wanted a Jackson Browne album – and I most assuredly do not – I’d go get one. Pass.
  5. This was a disc placed in my hands at the recent Americana Music Festival and Conference in Nashville. And it’s a CDR that isn’t playing properly, so I was all ready to pass, but then it jumped forward to a subsequent track, which is pretty damn fine. I think I’ll hold onto this one for review.
  6. Spanish-language salsa/Latina music. Very nice. Ah, now that I recall, I did tell the publicist, “sure, send me that for review consideration.” But I more or less expected the accompanying one-sheet to be in English! Nonetheless, set aside for a brief review.
  7. The Americana tag is a pretty big umbrella that apparently includes a lot of stuff that I’d call rock ‘n’ roll. This definitely has a suthun flavuh, but it’s quite well done. In for review, yup.
  8. About the best thing I can say about Dixieland is that I prefer it to opera and Scandinavian death metal. Pass.
  9. Oh, wait: I forgot about dub reggae and ska. I prefer Dixieland to those too. Aaaand…pass.
  10. The label is already warning me that this is a genre-spanning disc. Or is it? I hear a white guy trying – in vain – to convince me he’s Blind Lemon Jefferson. Skipping to other tracks, it’s pretty lifeless (others might say “laid back”). Pass.
  11. Wow. Weird. At first listen, this sounds a bit like Station to Station-era David Bowie crossed with Memphis soul. Or Lou Reed crossed with Meat Loaf‘s band. Tough to pin down, and intriguing. I think I’ll spend some time with this one. Yes.
  12. How did this disc get into this pile? Clearly a mistake; I definitely want to review it. This is the latest from Terry Adams and NRBQ, a disc in which they pay tribute to the music of Thelonious Monk.

I should make it clear that none of the discs that I’m passing on are what I’d classify as trash; not by a long shot. Oftentimes I get stuff that I deem terrible. This latest lot is some pretty uniformly high-quality music. But there are only 260 work days in a year, and my once-a-day posting limits how much I can cover. So a good deal of worthy music is getting passed over. All I can say is that the stuff that made the cut will come with my enthusiastic recommendation (except when it doesn’t).

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